Veganism is a philosophy and a way of living that 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. The term ‘vegan’ was coined in 1944 from the first three and last two letters of the word ‘vegetarian’.
Following the concept of ahimsa, a vegetarian does abstain from flesh and eggs in diet. But the fact is that there is abuse and exploitation of animals in every human use. And therefore, a vegan is someone who selects cosmetics, toiletries and household products not tested on animals and without animal derived ingredients, says no to the use of animals for experiments, work and entertainment, opts to adopt but does not buy animals as pets, chooses cruelty free alterna-tives to leather, wool, silk, honey and other animal based products, and abstains from flesh, eggs and animal milk in diet. To actively not participate in any use of animals stems from our inherent love, com-passion and respect towards ani-mals and from our core values of justice and nonviolence towards all living beings. After all, be it birds, fishes or land animals, all animals like us, enjoy the freedom of move-merit, have an intrinsic value of their own lives and are sentient beings who can feel and perceive. But in our use of them, we grossly violate their basic right to be free by restraining them with ropes and chains or confining them in cages, tanks, sheds or other such enclo-sures, we deny them everything that is natural to them, right from their natural habitat , activities and families to their natural death and we constantly inflict unimaginable physical, sexual, mental and emo-tional pain upon them. Every single day, more and more people across the world are taking a look beyond society’s conditioning and going vegan. It is time we all do too.