Why Vegan?

By KD Angle-Traegner / Last Update: January 2021

Living vegan has many advantages.

First, it’s a direct action you can take right now that has an immediate, real-world impact on animals. Secondly, living vegan is better for the environment. Finally, a properly planned vegan diet can be incredibly healthy.

So perhaps a better question might be, why not live vegan?




FAQ: What is a vegan anyway? Is it the same thing as a Vegetarian?

With so much misinformation on the internet today, it’s easy to see how people can become confused about what being a vegan means.

In short, vegans avoid animal and animal by-products in their food, including not only meat and fish, but dairy and honey as well. Vegans will also avoid animal products in household goods like bedding and cleaners, and clothing and beauty products too.

In contrast, a vegetarian still consumes animals in one way or another.

Vegan Origins

Where did veganism get its start?

The word vegan was coined in November 1944 in Great Britain by Donald Watson. He and his wife, along with four friends, founded the Vegan Society out of a desire to describe a life free from animal products.

Watson suggested the term ‘vegan’ — the beginning and end of ‘vegetarian’ — because “veganism starts with vegetarianism and carries it through to its logical conclusion.”

In the first issue of The Vegan News, Watson talked about veganism as the basis of a new social movement, and then later defined veganism in this way:

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; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals, and the environment.


For the Animals

First and foremost, it’s about the animals.

Randy, a rescue goat, lives at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York

Goat / Photo: JoAnne McArthur, WeAnimals

Without a doubt, it’s the animals who pay the highest price for a non-vegan lifestyle.

More than 150 billion animals are killed every year for food, and that’s not counting the animals who die as a result of vivisection laboratories, circuses, marine parks, zoos, horse racing, greyhound racing, and blood sports such as dog fighting, cockfighting, and bullfighting, etc.

Those numbers are heartbreaking and staggering.

Veganism can change them.

Veganism is a big topic with lots of things you’ll need to know. With that in mind, I’ve built a library of information designed to help you navigate through it.

Save the lives of animals one meal, one outfit, one refusal to attend a circus or marine park at a time.

These vegan lifestyle guides will show you how.


For the Environment

Can veganism save the planet? The short answer is yes.

Landscape picture of a forest that has been cut down

Raising animals for food is the single greatest human-caused source of destruction to our environment. It is the largest source of greenhouse gases, land use, and degradation; the number one source of water pollution and rainforest deforestation.

Animal-based diets are also a major contributor to air pollution, ocean dead zones, habitat loss, and species extinction. And when we include all the resources that go into raising animals for food– the land, fertilizers, pesticides insecticides, fossil fuels and freshwater – animal agribusiness is a costly and wasteful use of our limited natural resources.

Veganism is the solution.


For our Health

Is a vegan diet healthy? Absolutely.

Two hands holding a heart next to a stethoscope

I’m going to get it out of the way right now: It’s certainly possible to eat a healthful diet that contains some animal products.

Veganism doesn’t promise us perfect health, and that’s okay. By design, veganism isn’t about our health at all; it’s about the animals.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a plethora of reliable, evidence-based reasons to eat a plant-based diet because there are many.

A vegan eating plan can help to eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet. Removing these foods from your diet can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Some people find that eating a plant-powered diet can help them maintain their weight or even lose weight.

So, what is a healthful vegan diet?

To get the answer, I’ve partnered with a registered dietitian who specializes in vegan nutrition, Anya Todd MS, RD LD. From articles to nutrition guides to answering frequently asked health questions, it’s here.



Because veganism already has a definition.

Why Vegan? Definitions Matter

People are continually trying to redefine the word “vegan.”

Some would have you believe that the word vegan can mean many things:

  • A diet
  • A diet that you follow until 6 pm
  • A diet that you follow Monday – Friday
  • A diet that includes “just a little bit of cheese” or “eggs from a chicken you know personally”
  • A diet that includes fish or scallops because “they don’t feel pain”
  • A diet that includes honey or bee products because bees are insects, not animals

These definitions are untrue.

Veganism is:

  • A philosophy
  • A lifestyle
  • A belief system

Veganism is more than what we eat.

It’s who we are and how we care for others. It’s about compassion and justice, and it’s about kindness and peace, and it’s about treading lightly.

It’s about the animals.

Definitions matter.

You’ll hear that they don’t. You’ll read articles that say that the only people who need the definition of veganism are vegans seeking perfection. The same pieces will tell you that these people are harming the vegan movement as a whole. Some people will even tell you that it’s possible to use some animal products and still be vegan.

These things are untrue. Don’t listen.

A World Where Everyone Benefits

Do you know who benefits from defining veganism?

You do.

You’ll no longer have to question whether something labeled vegan is genuinely vegan. After all, if there are hundreds of different definitions of veganism, how will we know which one was used to determine if a product is vegan?

Do you know who else benefits from a clear definition of veganism?

The animals.

Turning veganism into merely a diet erases the animals from the conversation altogether, which is antithetical to the core tenants of veganism.

Finally, one last thing, about perfection:

No one alive is perfect, vegans included. Having a definition for one of the most significant social justice movements in history has nothing to do with perfection. It has everything to do with advocating with a clear and consistent message.

Does this mean that you’ll never fail, that you’ll never make mistakes in your veganism?

Absolutely not. You will; I will, we all will.

We’re fallible.


But to advocate on behalf of a position, one must first be able to define it. And veganism already has a definition.

Why Vegan Guide - Your Daily Vegan

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I am committed to providing accurate information to the vegan community. Meticulously researched, the vegan topic explored in this guide contains the information available at the time of publishing.

I don’t just say it; I source it too.

Reviews and updates happen when new material becomes available.

Please contact me if you find incorrect data.

Photo Credits

Deforestation and Hands & Hearts: Thinkstock
Table of Contents and goat: JoAnne McArthur, We Animals
Pinterest Image: Canva