Veganism has grown in popularity over the last decade or so, but the term was coined back in 1944 by Donald Watson, an animal rights advocate who founded the Vegan Society.
The Vegan Society describes veganism as “A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practicable – 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. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
There are many vegans who practice this type of diet for health reasons – either they feel it’s just better for their overall health to exlude the fat animal products have while others claim that their bodies can’t handle processing animal products, like people who are lactose intolerant and can’t have dairy.
Many vegans – especially in Western culture – say the reason they don’t eat animal products is that animals are living beings who are forced into living conditions that are inhumane solely for the sake of human eating their meat and drinking their milk. Pretty much exactly what the Vegan Society has spelled out in their description of veganism.
While there are some vegans who can be a little overbearing in their beliefs (these are the ones that the memes and parody videos take aim at) the majority of vegans just want to peacefully live their lives without ingesting or using products from animals.
We’re not here to argue for either side – meat eaters or vegans – but we would like to point out that the argument that “animals are living, breathing beings that can feel pain” may be soon null and void because apparently, plants can feel and hear things, too.