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Veganism is a way of life that avoids the use of any animal products for any purpose including food and clothing. A vegan is a person who practices veganism. In daily life, a vegan makes a commitment to abstain from consuming or using animal products.
Accordingly, a vegan abstains from eating foods derived from animals, including any form of meat, animal gelatin, eggs, honey and dairy products. Additionally, a vegan abstains from using non-food items derived from animals, including any items made of silk, wool, fur, bone, feathers, leather, pearls, coral, nacre, sponges and any other materials derived from animals. Vegans also abstain from products which have been tested on animals.
A person can become a vegan for various reasons, including moral concern for the environment or animal rights, and more personal reasons including religious or spiritual issues and health benefits.
Veganism is also known as strict vegetarianism or pure vegetarianism.
A 2002 poll found that four percent of adults in the United States think of themselves as vegetarians, and five percent of those self-described vegetarians consider themselves vegans. That means that approximately one out of every five hundred American adults are vegans.
Globally, there are well over one million Vegans living in the world today.
Many people see veganism as a natural progression from vegetarianism. Like vegetarianism, there is not any lone reason that people turn choose veganism. Four of the most common reasons are as follows:
Let's look at each in detail.
Animal Rights - Many adopt a vegan lifestyle to protest against the abuse and exploitation of animals. For example, most vegans take offense to the separation of mother cows and their calves quickly after birth so that the mother's milk can be harvested and sold. In another example, vegans object to the battery farming of chickens.
Diet – Many people find that a vegan diet is healthier than a more open vegetarian diet. For example, dairy products tend to be high in saturated fat. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are the basis of a vegan diet, and vegetables and fruits are seen as the epitome of nutritious.
Environmental – A vegan diet is environmentally more efficient than using animals, because it takes more land and water to produce meat than vegetables (since the livestock has to be fed many meals that could have otherwise gone directly to humans).
Political Reasons - Many people turn vegan to protest against the fast food industry, for the reason that fast food companies allow or promote animal cruelty by using battery-farmed animals, mistreating their workers, and over-package their products (which adds to the world's litter problem). Additionally, many people oppose the fast-food culture or the over-consumption culture, and use veganism to protest it.