Contrary to vegetarianism, veganism was founded on deeply held ethical convictions that espouse a dynamic respect for all life. This philosophy unifies vegans everywhere, regardless of superficial differences. Hence, a vegan from one part of the world can relate to and empathize with a vegan from another part of the world despite their disparate culture and language.
There are no such entities as “part-time vegans,” “partial vegans,” or “dietary vegans.” People who merely consume no animal products, including no eggs, animals’ milk, or honey are not vegans; they are “total vegetarians.” Until one’s commitment extends beyond the scope of food, the word “vegan” does not apply, regardless of how the media or certain individuals wish to employ it. Unlike vegetarianism, being vegan does not entail simply what a person does or doesn’t eat—it comprises who a person is.
People who are vegan attempt to imbue every aspect of their lives with an ethic of compassion. This influences their choice of clothing, personal care products, occupation, and hobbies, as well as food. It also colors their political perspectives, social attitudes, and personal relationships. This is not to say that all vegans think alike, act the same, have analogous opinions, or view the world and their place in it identically. Nevertheless, vegans do subscribe to a shared tenet that builds a collective awareness. It is this coalescence of consciousness that creates a bond among vegans and has the power to transcend cursory distinctions. In the final analysis, despite our diversity, there is only one type of vegan—a person who is committed to and practices a reverence and respect for all life.
~ Jo Stepaniak (2004)
Like 95% of the people I know, I don’t have a visceral (look it up) problem eating meat or wearing a belt. But like absolutely everybody I know, I don’t relish the idea of torturing animals. I don’t enjoy the fact that they’re dead and I certainly don’t want to volunteer to be the one to kill them and if I were picked to be the one to kill them in some kind of Lottery-from-Hell, I wouldn’t do a little dance of joy while I was slicing the animal apart.
~ Aaron Sorkin (December 8, 2010)
Rules of civility and fairness should never go out the window. Attacking someone because of their race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, class, sexual orientation, religion or disability is wrong. Even if that person is eating a rabbit while taking a carriage horse ride and wearing a mink coat.
~ Doris Lin (January 10, 2010)
Quality is expensive, of course. But there’s no need to consume meat every day. And where the choice is between saving cash and eating and drinking with a clean conscience, I would rather scrimp elsewhere.
Babe may bring a tear to your eye, but unless you pay a little more for his brothers’ bacon you can never truly call yourself an animal lover.
~ Rosamund Urwin (June 12, 2010)
We hear of the “Rights of Man.” I wish we heard more of them than we do—and could see them observed as well as talked of. But who ever thought of an animal’s rights—the rights of a brute. We hear it spoken of as a man’s duty to be kind to the brutes—but never of the brute’s right to just treatment. But why has not a brute rights, as well as men? What is the foundation of human rights, that is not foundation, for animal rights also? A man has rights—and they are important to him because their observance is necessary to his happiness, and their violation hurts him. He has a right to personal liberty. It is pleasant to him—permanently pleasant and good. It is therefore his right. And every creature—or I will call it, rather, every existence, (for whether created or not, they certainly exist, they are) every existence, that is capable of enjoying or suffering, has rights, and just mankind will regard them. And regard them as rights. The horse has rights. The dog. The cat, and the rat even. Real rights. And these rights are sacred[.] They are not to be invaded. Mankind are to study the happiness of all beings, so far as they are connected with them. How far it is to be carried, depends upon how far the most perfect good will can carry it. Farther then it can go—it is under no obligation to go. Does anybody seriously think it right, to trifle with animal happiness and animal suffering? They do trifle with them, and talk about dominion over them being given to man. If this dominion involve ill treatment—it was a bad gift, whoever gave it—in my opinion. They talk of dominion—and found upon it the right of capricious treatment. But that any body thinks it right to injure the brute, I doubt. Whoever will do it—is liable to extend the like injury to mankind. “Dominion” is claimed over portion of mankind as well as brute-kind, and by “divine right” too.
~ Nathaniel P. Rogers (October 31, 1845)
We are nature so I respect nature. Hunting is a natural instinct and the natural raw feeling and respect for all animals. I see the awesomeness in all creatures and its strange how I still enjoy photograph hunt as well as kill hunt. Its not the killing aspect its the raw grit to honor and tame all at once.
~ Ron Kyle (November 24, 2010)
Animal rights is not a matter of how best to convince consumers that animal exploitation is morally justifiable; it is about convincing people, through nonviolent education, that animal exploitation, however deceptively described as “humane,” is not morally justifiable.
~ Gary L. Francione (December 9, 2010)