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 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 more than what we eat.
It’s who we are and how we care for others. It’s about compassion and justice. It’s about kindness and peace. It’s about treading lightly.
It’s about the animals.
You’ll hear that they don’t. You’ll read articles that will 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’ll no longer have to question whether something labeled vegan is genuinely vegan. After all, if there are hundreds of different definitions of veganism out there, 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?
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 the most significant social justice movement since the abolition of slavery has nothing whatsoever 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 are human.
But to advocate on behalf of a position, one must first be able to define it. And veganism already has a definition.