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Mahk
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:42 PM
Starlight is right. Words can and do change. In Donald Watson's day there were no "stem cells", WMD/ bio terrorism, GMOs, cloned vegetables, irradiation of spices, gestation crates (?), or internet. We have to decide how veganism addresses these new things he never knew was coming.

starlight
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:43 PM
Starlight i've been vegan for a long time and often felt that i have had to 'fight' for my right to be vegan, maybe that is why it bothers me? :confused:. I have come up against opposition from my family/friends/employers/employees, and my son's previous school, too :mad:.

I also feel that people need to understand why vegans are vegans, as i think this is where a lot of personal problems can begin (with lack of understanding). For instance to some non-vegans it's just an 'extreme diet' whereas to most vegans it's about living a compassionate lifestyle.


First off, respect to you for being a long time vegan and fighting for it as you have. I'm sure that must have been very hard indeed, and it's thanks to people like you I guess that it's relatively easy for me. So thank you.

I also agree with you about the need to educate and inform the world about how to live compassionately. I'm a big believer in this concept, although in truth still struggling to know how to be effective in achieving it personally.

But how does this insistence on a particular definition of a particular word contribute in any practical sense to informing the world about how to live compassionately? That's the bit I don't get.

starlight
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:48 PM
But how does this insistence on a particular definition of a particular word contribute in any practical sense to informing the world about how to live compassionately? That's the bit I don't get.

... and if we agree that the important thing is to educate the world about how to live compassionately, surely we should be spending our time and energy talking about how to do that instead of arguing about definitions, no?

(I know it's probably bad form to quote yourself, so sorry, but I forgot the punchline)

nonegiven
Sep 4th, 2008, 12:19 AM
I have been thinking more about this topic, and have a feeling that the main problem is The Vegan Society, which in it's eagerness to attract more members currently seem to - in important situations - present 'vegan' as a dietary concept.
Do you think that is being done to disassociate from and counter-act the negative impressions being created by the whackier elements?

I sort of feel that just as proper scientific data is healthy on the nutritional side, proper academic data is healthy on the social/sociological side as well. And certainly if the legal entity doing so is seen as "the official voice", democratic and accountable to its funders/followers.

In my book, those individuals would still vegans as long as there was no intent to go back to eating meat, that there is no "complete package" that you have to perform in order to be "certified vegan". (It is all done on trust).

In other hard-core sub-cultures, there is also the mentality that "a has-been is a never-was". Some folks body, or environment, can just not take being vegan forever. I would not wish to downplay their "vegan period" or "vegan efforts". In a way, vegan is used religiously; as in one that wishes to move towards and embody 'ahimsa'.

Let us turn the whole thing on its head for a moment. Say the world did become vegan tomorrow. Wide-scale animal culling would have to take place to balance the environment we have created. Some culling and mercy killing would likely have to continue after the point of it being re-balance for as long as we survive due to the lack of natural order and the nature of natural order.

Would be use or re-cycling of those animal products not be acceptable in the same was organic wheat in its transitional period is still perfectly edible and ethical?

Personally, I have swung from being a normal consumer though not excessive due to poverty through a 'plastic pharisee vegan' phase to realising how daft that was too, to moving back a little towards a pragmatic 'natural vegan' stance. That is, to accept the nature of nature and put the greater environment above individual animals or our favourite, chosen privileged species. I have accept that just as I am and my body is a part of that greater recycling, and suffering of life, so are they. I do not see that as diluting my veganism. I see it as a part of my continuing maturity.

Leather is the first and most obvious question in this aspect. Mammals die ... why not use the remains? If it is the best and most natural material for a job, why not use it? You did not cause the sufffering, it had to happen, it is just going to go to waste or compost anyway, so what is "not vegan" about making use of that?

What I do not agree with is vanity and excess in the use of it. That would not be vegan nor sustainable. I do not agree at all with the use of leather for the sake of mere fashion, e.g. 30 pairs of shoes or clones wearing it for the look. But if is for the honest sake of utility, and would be what we would have to do in an entirely natural environment (e.g. no high-tech plastic factories), then I think it is acceptable. Ditto wools in Northern climates.

If we do not, then we accept that veganism is just an absurd sub-set derivative of the modern industrial capitalist society and not something natural at all.

Korn
Sep 4th, 2008, 05:01 AM
This is why statistics are important. Unfortunately I don't know of any - do you?
Again - one would IMO take the topic in an absurd direction if one should ask people on the street who may or may not know the definition of vegan what they think the definition of vegan is, and start to use their potential misinterpretation of vegan as a reference for how vegans should use that word.

If you look at all the vegan sites, the polls that have been made - and all the vegan literature you can find, the agreement that veganism isn't only is about diet is around at least 90%, probably closer to 95%. Since I don't think Christians, Jews or Muslims should use me as a reference for what the definition of 'Christian', 'Jew' or 'Muslim' is, why would I ask uninformed non-vegans how we should define 'vegan'?



Starlight is right. Words can and do change.
People can try to change them, consciously or unconsciously. Others, who knows what certain words actually mean, can contribute to keep the actual meaning of a word intact.

Since people eat circa three times a day or more, but don't eg. buy shoes three times a day, the dietary aspect of vegan becomes more visible/obvious for most non-vegans, and the may make their own assumptions about what vegan means based on what they see (most often), and not what they know.


I can't think of any ideological group, represents for certain ethical values, philosophy, religion or founder of a new movement that would look at someone who misinterprets what they believe in and start to use the misinterpretations as a reference for how they should use terms they invented or how they should be defined.



Donald Watson died 2-3 years ago.

Veganism doesn't need to deal with GMO or bio-terrorism, and therefore 'we' don't need to decide how veganism address these things.

Veganism "denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose".

The term 'vegan' never contained any definitions of how vegans should deal with GMOs or bio-terrorism, and not only does the word 'vegan' not need to be extended into more than it actually means, it would be disastrous if it did, because that would exclude all those who are into veganism, but who maybe don't share certain people's newly added extensions to the definition of 'vegan', like 'vegans are always against irradiation of species'.


[QUOTE=nonegiven;501029]In my book, those individuals would still vegans as long as there was no intent to go back to eating meat

I'm not sure if I understand which individuals you refer to or if you suggest that someone is vegan if only they don't go back to eating meat, but if you insist on the latter, I'm afraid you haven't understood what 'vegan' means...



Let us turn the whole thing on its head for a moment. Say the world did become vegan tomorrow. Wide-scale animal culling would have to take place to balance the environment we have created.
No, let's not imagine that the word became vegan tomorrow, because it won't happen, and we don't need another 'what should we do with all the animals if everybody became vegans tomorrow' discussion, especially not in this thread. The move towards a more vegan world is extremely gradual, meaning that the what-to-do-with-all-the-animals-thing is a non-topic (as discussed in other threads).



Mammals die ... why not use the remains?
Please start another thread of you want to... there are so few wild animals out there that the amount of leather one could get from animals that died a natural death in the wilderness is microscopic compared with the current amount of people who want to use leather...


In a way, vegan is used religiously; as in one that wishes to move towards and embody 'ahimsa'.


Ahimsa simply means nonharming, and even if that particular word is from another language, not wanting to harm isn't something religious. It's based on the simple decision that it doesn't make sense to harm others if you don't want others to harm you. The word 'ethics' doesn't even need to be in there - it's simply a question of making sense.



if we agree that the important thing is to educate the world about how to live compassionately, surely we should be spending our time and energy talking about how to do that instead of arguing about definitions

If someone would arrange some organized work for a better world, they would have agree about certain definitions; about how to communicate. If they want to work for veganism, they would definitely need to know what veganism is. However, they wouldn't need to argue about it, because the definition already exists. The problem arises when such a tragic situation occurs that eg. The Vegan Society is using several, conflicting definitions of vegan on their own site, in spite of the general, long term, world wide agreement that veganism isn't only about food.

nonegiven
Sep 4th, 2008, 05:34 AM
I clearly wrote that I did not include or "people who want to use animal skins", I am questioning "people or purposes for whom or which animals skins, including for fairness our own, are the better or only material" for specific jobs.

I am really thinking about the future. When the oil runs out, which everyone seems to agree it will, civilisation will either gently or cataclysmically slide into something between agrarian feudalism, hunter-gathering, including quite conceivably cannibalism as has happened during out extreme period of war and famines. With such a feudalism, working animals will return to previous rates and be a part of environmental recycling.

Recently, BP stated that known reserves will provide 40 years of consumption at current rates. The London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre claim it will be used up much faster. That is clearly in the lifetime of many members of this forum. The plastics industry, of course, is a part of the oil industry.

So as much as being vegan is currently a largely metropolitan sub-set of the modern industrial capitalist society and not something natural at all, how is it going to adopted to such changes. The "less harm" equation can still be applied but, especially in the Northern hemisphere, will become increasingly difficult to impossible. (We could also apply this argument to individuals living in remote and undeveloped areas).

So, applying the plastic purist vegan interpretation of the principles, locked us into a tiny slice of time and space, and the modern industrial capitalist society era. So the principle has to be more open and flexible.

As to the insulting "not understanding what vegan means" ... its more that I just don't think "dietary vegans" really exist, and certainly not in any numbers which is why I question the term's creation. A vegan is a vegan is a vegan ... and no one is quite sure what the bullseye nirvana of vegan perfection actually is or looks like. If we accept that we are a sub-set derivative of the modern industrial capitalist society and not something natural at all, which I think is hard to argue against, then our nirvana is nothing more than a comfortable room in hell for a relatively elite few within that society. Given the modern industrial capitalist society destructive and suffering induced powers, we are nothing more than the "nice, idealist nazis" amongst it; part of it, dependent on it and powerless to stop it.

Make a mental note today folks to move to somewhere warmer, sustainable and less well-developed because the problems won't wait until the very last barrel to start happening ... starting with radical price hikes of everything.

Korn
Sep 4th, 2008, 06:15 AM
Nonegiven, I'm sorry, but still don't understand what you mean by " those individuals would still vegans as long as there was no intent to go back to eating meat".


I just don't think "dietary vegans" really exist

Well... as you probably know by now I and others don't think such a thing like a dietary vegan can exist, but I'm sure there are many people who eat vegan, but aren't vegans. They may not feel at home in a vegan organization, and it would be great if they had an alternative. However, hijacking The Vegan Society and make it into a dietary organization would IMO be totally unacceptable.



In my estimation the average non-vegan probably doesn't recognise any relationship at all between the word "vegan" and issues around silk, wool, leather, fur etc. They probabaly don't even recognise a link between the word "vegan" and a general attitude of compassion for animals or concern about ecological issues. They probably just think of it as a dietary choice. Period.

If that's the case we may as well accept the word "vegan" means "someone who eats a non-meat non-dairy diet" and nothing more. So you could then describe yourself as either:
- "vegan", meaning diet only, or
- "vegan and animal rights sympathiser", or
- "vegan and ecoworrier"
etc



That would essentially equal the allowance/acceptance of the word 'vegan' to be hijcaked by someone who doesn't know or respect it's meaning.


Veganism isn't only about diet, and it definitely isn't only about avoiding meat (or dairy/meat).


This isn't a demand about conformity, and not about my or someone else's private version of the definition of vegan. It's about what the word vegan means. Check all the vegan books and sites you can find if you are in doubt....

This isn't about 'absolutism' either. The common definition of 'vegan' clearly contains the well known part about 'as much as practical and possible', which of course covers more than meat or meat/dairy.

The above dieatary definition of vegan ("someone who eats a non-meat non-dairy diet") doesn't even include eggs and honey.


Please see our FAQ/guidelines - especially #12.

Mahk
Sep 4th, 2008, 06:59 PM
Veganism doesn't need to deal with GMO or bio-terrorism, and therefore 'we' don't need to decide how veganism address these things.
Regarding GMOs, The Vegan Society, whose founder(s) coined the term, so I think they have more of a right than you in defining what 'veganism' means, disagrees with you. They obviously felt the need to address GMOs, otherwise they wouldn't have released this (http://www.vegansociety.com/about_us/gmo_policy/) public policy statement.

Korn
Sep 4th, 2008, 07:35 PM
I definitely have no right to decide what their GMO policy should be! From the link you posted, it seems that they are neutral about GMO, but that they - in good vegan tradition - are against the use of animal genes or animal substances in the development and production of GMOs.

Besides - I'm not talking about what The Vegan Society's GMO policy is - I'm talking about what is covered by the definition of vegan/veganism.


I think they have more of a right than you in defining what 'veganism' means

Well - they have a number of conflicting definitions on their site, so pick your choice... :)

I'm very fascinated by Donald Watson and his simplicity and clarity, and I seriously wish I could say the same about the current state of The Vegan Society.


We have a discussion about The Vegan Society's GMO policy here:
Vegan Society GM Policy? (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5374) By the way, I agree with that policy, even if I generally am more against the use of GMOs than their policy suggests. For the record, I also agree with Donald Watson (a clip from our GMO (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33737)-thread):


Q: What are your views on genetically modified organisms?
A: As the old saying has it, if a thing seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true, and I'm sure this is a classic example, quite apart from the irreversible genetic nature of what is our basic food supply in the future.

Personally I'm definitely anti-GMO... all I'm saying is that being against or pro use of GMOs isn't a built-in part of being vegan as such, or part of the definition of veganism, This is what TVS also states when they write that "Products carrying the Society's trademark can contain GMOs". I also think it's great that they insist on GMO labeling, but that isn't an opinion that is part of the definition of 'vegan' either.

Donald Watson had a number of opinions that aren't baked into the definition of 'vegan'. He insisted that humans' greatest mistake was to try to turn himself into a meat eater, he insisted on using a fork, and not a spade when digging in his garden (to avoid harming earthworms), he practically never took any medicine or other supplements than those found in fortified foods (which, in the case of eg. B12 didn't exist when they founded the vegan movement) and so on. Neither he or The Vegan Society have insisted that his various opinions should be seen as a part of veganism.

gogs67
Sep 4th, 2008, 08:34 PM
I look back at my 'radical Pharisee' purist vegan days of riding motorcycles in cotton tai-chi slippers ...


I found that bit hilarious!:D

Korn
Sep 7th, 2008, 11:46 PM
I've been away from the forum for more than I've had in a long time.... Sorry for the late reply.


First... A post was removed from this thread last week, containing stuff like this:


My feeling is that you seem to be demanding some kind of conformity beyond not just eating meat products. if I exaggerate it, "one is not a real vegan unless one attends animal rights demos in pleather Doc Martins". I guess I am just adopting a non-conformist vegan stance and allowing veganism to exist as a broad church of individuals.

If someone adopts a vegan diet with no intent of going back, to me they are a vegan.

Here's our board rule (#12):


Veganism isn't only about diet. Please don't use our forum to try to change veganism to something else than it is.


Veganism is about a lot more than 'not just eating meat products', and have always been.

I also removed some of what I personally wrote, because I made a mistake: two relatively new members essentially suggested that veganism was about diet; that one was a vegan if one was eating vegan food. At some point, I copy-pasted something they had written into a message I already had started to write. I didn't use the MultiQuote function - if I had, the name of the original poster would have been there along with the quote, and the final result was confusing, because what I wrote to one person appeared to have been written to another. They both had written more or less that if someone was on a vegan diet, they were vegans.

The lack of "Originally posted by..." in the text caused confusion, and I apologize for having replied as if the two quotes were written by the same person (this is why I corrected post # 157 above, 2-3 days ago).


The main point isn't if dietary vegans 'exist' or not - it is that veganism is not about diet only, and that - as we have specified in our board rules - don't want to use this forum for promoting the ideas that essentially would remove the non-food aspects of veganism from veganism. There's massive agreement among people who are vegans and who knows the history of veganism (http://www.vegansociety.com/html/downloads/ArticlesofAssociation.pdf) that veganism isn't only about diet.



hmm, well some points i would agree on, some i just don't know enough about (but maybe i need to! :eek:)
[...]
the 'pure' thing i understand more because one of the aims of TVS is to make veganism seem accessible and possible.

I should probably clarify that I don't suggest that we should claim that veganism is about 'being pure'. Veganism is about a "way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose". The definition doesn't say why vegans are against exploitation and cruelty.

We'll probably all agree that it's out of respect for animals, while some will say that respect for animals and purification of oneself - or keeping their karma 'clean' is all part of the same thing. If 'all is one', trying to to harm or disturb others life or happiness is essentially the same as not reducing one's own life quality; about not polluting it with evil actions. We don't all have a Western background here, and viewpoints involving the concept of karma and purification of the mind/soul is becoming more common in the Western world.

I write this as a person who doesn't belong to any religious group. Out of respect for those who doesn't see 'pure' as some whimsy New Age-ish term, but as an essential part of their own lifestyle/religion, we don't need to claim that 'purity' never is part of the reason why some people are against harming others.

I guess the bottom line is - also for Hindus, Jains or Buddhists - a desire to avoid harming animals out 'respect for others', combined with not wanting to contribute to one's own suffering or environmental damage, and not some computer-game-like speculation in how one could improve one's own life by collecting karma points. Such a motivation would probably only 'pollute' the karma anyway, and probably be seen as "self-centeredness in disguise".

Regarding making veganism accessible... not being Italians never held anyone back from eating Italian food. :)

There's a reason hardly anyone is described using terms like 'dietary Englishmen' or 'dietary Chinese'!

Mahk
Sep 8th, 2008, 01:40 AM
First... A post was removed from this thread last week, containing stuff like this:


Quote:
"My feeling is that you seem to be demanding some kind of conformity beyond not just eating meat products. if I exaggerate it, "one is not a real vegan unless one attends animal rights demos in pleather Doc Martins". I guess I am just adopting a non-conformist vegan stance and allowing veganism to exist as a broad church of individuals."


Perhaps this individual made an innocent mistake like they thought the Vegan Society, who coined the term vegan and therefor has the right to define it however they choose, would hold to their circa 2005/2006 definition (http://web.archive.org/web/20050413054217/www.vegansociety.com/phpws/index.php?module=faq&FAQ_op=view&FAQ_id=1):

"Q: What is a vegan?

A: A vegan is someone seeking a lifestyle free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.
A vegan therefore eats a plant-based diet free from all animal products, including milk, eggs and honey. Most vegans do not wear leather, wool or silk."

Most!? :eek:

[I found this by using "the way back machine" (http://www.archive.org/web/web.php). It allows one to search the interweb of the past. I entered "www.vegansociety.com", selected a date archived, then clicked on Facts at the Vegan Society site, click on FAQ to the right, and then click "What's a vegan?". Only some dates allow full searching, others don't load at all for me.]

Korn, did you also ban the member who made the pleather Doc Martins comment?

Mahk
Sep 8th, 2008, 01:48 AM
In the very first news letter (http://www.ukveggie.com/vegan_news/vegan_news_1.pdf), Watson interestingly makes not a single mention of veganism applying to anything but diet. I'm not saying that's good, I'm just saying it's interesting. Eggs are also hardly mentioned but you discover that is because during WW II, England was egg free it seems for everybody, so it wasn't an issue I guess.

Korn
Sep 8th, 2008, 02:06 AM
Korn, did you also ban the member who made the pleather Doc Martins comment?

I'm not sure who you refer to when you write 'also', but no, that member isn't banned...

Mahk
Sep 8th, 2008, 02:13 AM
I'm not sure who you refer to when you write 'also', but no, that member isn't banned...

"Also" was used since you censored their comment. I wasn't sure if you censored their comment alone or them completely.

Korn
Sep 8th, 2008, 02:29 AM
Ah, I see.

Regarding that first newsletter, it didn't mention honey (http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm) either, even if honey was defined as non-vegan by the initial version of The Vegan Society. It seems that this newsletter was from just before they actually made up their minds regarding what should an what should not be considered a part of the definition of 'vegan'. It was written even before they had decided to use the word 'vegan', and

The Vegan Society's own memorandum 1948-1976 definitely mentions avoiding all animal products (not just dietary).

This is from the 1964 Summer edition of The Vegan:

Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence and compassion for all life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derives wholly or in part from animals.




From http://theveganideal.blogspot.com/2008/06/making-veganism-whole-again.html:


MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2008
Making Veganism Whole Again
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, veganism was undermined by the breakdown of its important relationship between theory and action. We can actually trace this by looking at the publications of the Vegan Society (UK) and the American Vegan Society (US).

In the March/April 1976 issue of Ahimsa, the AVS publication (now called American Vegan), published the article "What is VEGANISM?" on its front page, explaining:

VEGANISM (pronounced VEE-gun-izm) is an advanced way of living in accordance with Reverence of Life, recognizing the rights of all sentient living creatures, and extending to them the compassion, kindness, and justice exemplified in the Golden Rule.

Veganism excludes all forms of cruelty to, and exploitation of, the animal kingdom. Thus, vegans do not use such products of animal cruelty, exploitation, or slaughter, as flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, milk and other dairy items, honey, gelatin, etc.; nor do vegans use leather, fur wool, or silk. Veganism is based on an enlightened sense of the responsibility to other humans and animals ... who share this planet with us, as well as progressive outlook encouraging a healthy, fertile soil and plant kingdom, and a sensible and equitable use of the earth's materials.

There's a clear connection here between vegan theory and practice. The sentence most specifically explaining actions starts, "Thus," emphasizing the action's interrelation to, and reflection of, a principle of non-exploitation. Veganism is not simple activism or action for action's sake.

The following year, in the January/March 1977 issue of Ahimsa, AVS breaks the action-reflection connection by focusing exclusively on action:

Veganism means living on the products of the plant kingdom, to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, animal milk and all dairy products ... eggs, honey, gelatin, and any other food of animal origin.

It also excludes from use animal products such as leather, wool, silk, fur, animal oils, secretions, etc. as may be found in items of clothing, toiletries, cosmetics, household goods, and other commodities, and encourages the study and use of alternatives for all such commodities.

AVS dropped: "and encourages the study and use of alternatives for all such commodities," in April/June 1991. Otherwise, this has basically been the AVS "definition" of veganism for the last few decades.

A similar trend took place with the Vegan Society in England. In 1980, Victoria Moran went to England on a grant to write a thesis on the vegan movement. In her thesis, Compassion: The Ultimate Ethic (An Exploration of Veganism), Moran cites the following from the Society's Summer 1964 issue of The Vegan:

Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence and compassion for all life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derives wholly or in part from animals.

Veganism remembers man's (sic) responsibility to the earth and its resources and seeks to bring about a healthy soil and plant kingdom and a proper use of the materials of the earth.

This description contains the same distinguishing qualities as the 1976 AVS description. Both present a dialog between theory and action. Veganism "applies to the practice," it is not a practice by itself.

Moran cites a drastic change in the Spring 1980 issue of The Vegan, which shows the disconnection of action from theory:

Veganism is a way of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, animal milk and its derivatives (the taking of honey being left to individual conscience). It encourages the study and use of alternatives for all commodities normally derived wholly or partly from animals.

In her thesis, Moran wisely settled on neither vegan societies' narrow action-oriented description; opting instead for Eva Batt's description in "Why Veganism," stating that "veganism is one thing and one thing only – a way of living which avoids exploitation whether it is our fellow man (sic), the animal population, or the soil upon which we all rely for our existence." (Batt was connected with both society's. Her article "Why Veganism" was published in several forms by AVS, and she worked in several positions for the Vegan Society.)

What's happened to veganism is a lot like when whole foods are processed and stripped of vital nutrients. Veganism as both theory and action is the whole grain, but as just a practice becomes refined white flour. The adoption of veganism by utilitarian and rights theorists becomes enriched white flour. Through the process of "refining," veganism, like whole grain, becomes a denatured commodity. An animal rights theory might add something to the refined product, but it's not the same as whole, organic veganism.

With regard to The Vegan's Spring 1980 description of veganism, the Vegan Society only left honey to "individual conscience" during the early 1980s. The current description used by the Society excludes all animal-derived products including honey. It also returns some reference to non-exploitation as the basis of the practice, and gives consideration to other people and the planet.

The American Vegan Society website does a better job describing veganism as more than just a practice (American Vegan still uses the narrow, action-oriented definition). Unfortunately, AVS doesn't identify exploitation as a fundamental concern, which I think can be problematic.

Here's what The (UK) Vegan Society writes under Vegan Basics (http://www.vegansociety.com/newsroom/index.php?/plugin/faqs/1/1):

Question: What is a vegan?

Answer: A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals - no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.



The American Vegan Society's definition (http://www.americanvegan.org/vegan.htm):

What is Vegan?
VEGANS (pronounced VEE-guns) Live on products of the plant kingdom.

Veganism is compassion in action. It is a philosophy, diet, and lifestyle.

Veganism is an advanced way of living in accordance with Reverence for Life, recognizing the rights of all living creatures, and extending to them the compassion, kindness, and justice exemplified in the Golden Rule.

Vegans exclude flesh, fish, fowl, dairy products (animal milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, etc.), eggs, honey, animal gelatin, and all other foods of animal origin.

Veganism also excludes animal products such as leather, wool, fur, and silk in clothing, upholstery, etc. Vegans usually make efforts to avoid the less-than-obvious animal oils, secretions, etc., in many products such as soaps, cosmetics, toiletries, household goods and other common commodities.

Reasons for Veganism:
An equitable, ethical relationship between human and other living creatures
The physiological human design
An enlightened concept of repairing and maintaining health
Practical solutions to the population explosion
Spiritual development

These issues are further explained in Ahimsa volume 41, number 4, page18.

Mahk
Sep 8th, 2008, 02:57 AM
The American Vegan Society is so small and insignificant I didn't even know it existed until recently. I also think the only one that counts is the UK one since their founder(s) coined the word. Just because the Vegan Society of Madagascar says "we don't allow pet ownership" doesn't hold any water with me. UK rules because UK was first. They and only they get to define "vegan", end of story. If in 2005/2006 they said "most vegans avoid leather..." [as I documented in my previous post #162] then that is the law for those years. If in 2010 they say "vegans eat eggs now" then I divorce myself from the term since they own it and define it, [I]we don't.

I then become a "vegevarian" and you are all welcome to follow me.:)

Korn
Sep 8th, 2008, 03:27 AM
Since they agree that veganism isn't only about food, does it really matter much if one of them is more significant than the other (in this context)?

Anyway, my personal interest is in veganism, and not in The Vegan Society, and if they don't represent veganism, none of them would 'count' or 'rule' in my book...


If in 2005/2006 they said "most vegans avoid leather..."
That would be mathematically correct, since a number of vegans still wear old stuff they bought before they became vegans. Remember, that sentence was written along with saying that "a vegan is someone seeking a lifestyle free from animal products", which definitely isn't limited to food. Since one clearly can't both go for a lifestyle free from animal products and by fur and leather, they could be referring to the wear-old-products-until-they-are-worn-out thing. If not, it was a result of of some sort of lobbying, in which case whatever they wrote or said still wouldn't 'rule'...

They don't 'own and define' the word; the word is already defined. If The Vegan Society would be taken over by someone who doesn't respect the definition of vegan ('chill vegans', 'pesco-vegans', 'honey-and-eggs-vegans') another organization would be formed, and due to the existence of internet, it would become very public, very fast, that a 'redefined' vegan Society no longer represented veganism based on it's common and historical definition.

snivelingchild
Sep 8th, 2008, 03:51 AM
More specifically, it was Donald Watson who coined the term. Just throwing that in there. If he wasn't dead, I suppose we could just ask him.

Mahk
Sep 8th, 2008, 03:52 AM
Anyway, my personal interest is in veganism, and not in The Vegan Society, and if they don't represent veganism, none of them would 'count' or 'rule' in my book...

Quote:
"If in 2005/2006 they said "most vegans avoid leather..."

That would be mathematically correct, since a number of vegans still wear old stuff they bought before they became vegans. Remember, that sentence was written along with saying that "a vegan is someone seeking a lifestyle free from animal products", which definitely isn't limited to food. Since one clearly can't both go for a lifestyle free from animal products and by fur and leather, they could be referring to the wear-old-products-until-they-are-worn-out thing. If not, it was a result of of some sort of lobbying, in which case whatever they wrote or said still wouldn't 'rule'...

They don't 'own and define' the word; the word is already defined.
Since you seem clear in your mind as to the exact meaning of the word vegan, and you will gladly abandon any Vegan Society UK definition if it betrays "the" definition, perhaps you would care to share with us if there is an allowance for companion animals and taking animal containing/tested life saving medications in this "correct" definition. I've always thought those topics were up to debate, but now that I know, thanks to you, that there is a singular correct definition I was previously unaware of, I look forward to learning the truth at last. Please provide documentation so we'll have links to back it up should someone challenge us on it, thanks.

Korn
Sep 8th, 2008, 04:06 AM
Frankly, I don't know where your sarcasm comes from; you clearly agree that someone who only eats vegan isn't a vegan, don't you? You seem to already be referring to the same sources I that I am.

Mahk
Sep 8th, 2008, 04:08 AM
More specifically, it was Donald Watson who coined the term. Just throwing that in there. If he wasn't dead, I suppose we could just ask him.

...and co-founder Elsie Shrigley (http://www.vegansociety.com/about_us/history/). Of course history doesn't always convey herstory now does it.

Mahk
Sep 8th, 2008, 04:34 AM
you clearly agree that someone who only eats vegan isn't a vegan, don't you?
Yes, correct. The simplest, easiest way to describe such a person would be a "dietary vegan". Why you think such a term implies they are a vegan eludes me. I would perhaps have a better understanding if you had answered my question "Does calling oneself a 'dietary Englishman' imply one is English?" but since you refused to I guess I'll never understand your logic.

My point is there are things to debate in veganism:
pets
seeing eye dogs
animal tested/containing life saving medicines (with no alternatives;))
sugar of unknown filtration
vitamin D3 in food
"natural flavoring"
old leather
sitting on a leather chair/ taxi seat
the 2005/2006 Vegan Society UK "Most vegans avoid leather" definition.

If I had my way we'd have open discussions on these matters, not censorship.

cobweb
Sep 8th, 2008, 08:02 AM
Mahk every human is unique (even vegans) so surely there is no definitive answer to the above questions, which is where the 'avoidance'................'wherever practical and possible' thing comes in?.

Korn
Sep 8th, 2008, 09:30 AM
I would perhaps have a better understanding if you had answered my question "Does calling oneself a 'dietary Englishman' imply one is English?" but since you refused to I guess I'll never understand your logic.
I already have responded to that, and both explained why I don't think they are comparable - plus, I've mentioned that nobody is using that term, probably because it doesn't make sense. It seems that you have found a constructed term ("dietary Englishman'), and discuss use of that artificial term as a stepping stone for arguments pro use of 'dietary vegan'.


Why you think such a term implies they are a vegan eludes me. I'm looking at the whole picture, including the fact that TVS on their site both mentions the common, traditional use of 'vegan' several times, but also mentions, under 'Definition of a vegan' only that "a vegan will not eat any animal products".

Our disagreement about that term could be something linguistic as well, but adjectives normally describe nouns - in English as well, and since others, which unlike me are from UK support me, I feel my viewpoint is on safe linguistic ground.

You have misinterpreted what I've said a few times lately, Mahk... (about veganism and views of use of GMO, you have written that I insist that people who eat vegan "are not allowed to use the word "vegan" to describe their diet" and more), but - with all due respect, if you're currently on a disagree-with-Korn week, could we have a break from that soon? :)


If there would have been sentences in the common and traditional definition of vegan saying that 'under no circumstances, it's acceptable for humans to have "pets", we wouldn't have had a discussion about it. We would rather have explained why in the Not a Vegan Yet-section. The same goes for the other things in your list.

Since there is a massive agreement that veganism is about more than diet, the situation is different. Your write that we could still call these non-vegans for vegans (namely dietary vegans), and we just have to conclude that we won't agree in this. The core oif the disagreement seem to be that some of us suggest that 'dietary vegan' may easily create misunderstandings about different types of vegans, while you and others may suggest that 'dietary vegan' only means "when it comes to diet, I'm vegan', and that the misunderstandings this could trigger doesn't represent a real problem.


Misunderstandings and misinterpretations do happen. Let me use a misinterpretation of me from last week - the one where you claim that I suggest that people who eat vegan "are not allowed to use the word "vegan" to describe their diet" (my emphasis). My view is exactly the opposite: the should use the word vegan to describe their diet, and not themselves or veganism. Wouldn't it make a lot of sense to do what we can to avoid misunderstandings about veganism?

I'm all for open discussion, and against censorship. Now, one internet forum would never represent any real censorship, and we have to deal with lobbying, and with people who want to do the same thing with vegan as some people have done with 'vegetarian'. We need filters. Discussions about illegal activism also 'suffers' from what you call censorship. The same goes for suggestions about including eggs and honey, meat from wild game, hunting (and lots of other things) into the vegan concept.


If I had my way we'd have open discussions on these matters, not censorship.
We have open discussions about all these topics on your list, as far as I'm aware of. We will not have "open discussions" about wether red is green, whether veganism is about diet only, or discussions with pro-nazis or pro-racists.


If we would have allowed all these people who are 1/2 or 2/3 vegan or 3/4 vegan to discuss here, it simply wouldn't have been a vegan forum: the place would have been loaded with posts by people defending use of animal products. They have a very limited set of arguments that already have been mentioned in the Not A Vegan-area several times - and if we would have free-floating policy regarding use of animal products, most vegans simply wouldn't want to hang out here.

There are people (not many, it seems) in The Vegan Society that would like 'vegan' to be defined as being about food products only, and they would probably have been very active here if I started a thread with "Veganism may be about food, or maybe it's about more than food. Discuss!", but we want a forum where vegans feel at home, not another place where people around them keeps questioning their veganism or defend use of animal products.

Mahk - you clearly agree that someone who only eats vegan isn't a vegan... you don't suggest that this topic is up for discussion as well, do you?

The very first newsletter from 1944, written before they even had agreed on using the word vegan, states things like "We know that milk drinking by adults is an absurdity never intended by Nature" and "We know that man's anatomy is unquestionably frugivorous" - both suggesting that these vegans mean that we aren't natural omnivores. Still: AFAIK, veganism as such (or The Vegan Society) doesn't claim that eating omnivorous food is unnatural for humans.

I think it's important to stick to a correct and 'narrow' definition of vegan, and like Cobweb and others have suggested, it therefore seems like a good idea to stay away from the term 'dietary vegan', if not for any other reasons that it easily can be misunderstood (which I guess is what you, Mahk, already claim that some of us do).

Everything that can cause confusion should be avoided if there are better alternatives, especially for a the kind of minority vegans represent.


If in 2010 they say "vegans eat eggs now" then I divorce myself from the term since they own it and define it, we don't.
I don't think TVS has any right to change the definition of an established word like vegan. One could always find enough people to fill an AGM and try to change what has always been the core of veganism - respect for animals, but that would be stealing, hijacking, unethical. They have talked about sentience, about killing and exploitation and about anti-cruelty since day one, and never intended to start a health club.

OTOH, if there ever should be strong forces inside TVS that wants to let go of the non-dietary aspects of veganism, and if they should succeed in doing that, others would take over and continue their original work in (an)other organization(s). They simply won't get away with it, all they risk is to lose support from both vegans and so called 'dietary vegans'.

---

The statement about eggs in the above mentioned newsletter from 1944 is loud and clear:


"...we shall, of course, say strongly why we condemn the use of dairy produce and eggs".

The paragraph continues as follows:


"In return we shall expect to be criticised. It will be no concern of ours if we fail to convert others, but we do think it should concern them if, deep in their hearts, they know we are right."

That's the kind of spirit I'd like to see more of in the current version of The Vegan Society.